Super Brawl 36: Big fight for Vitale, return of tourney
Submitted by: Monte Cox
Posted On 06/02/2004
HONOLULU, Hawaii -- For Niko Vitale, his time in the spotlight was far too short.
After shocking the world with a win over Matt Lindland in his UFC debut, the victory and his abilities seemed to be forgotten when he lost to Lindland in his UFC rematch six months later.
Even an impressive win over former UFC champion Dave Menne didn't get the telephone ringing with offers from the bigger events.
However, on Friday, June 18, Vitale hopes to open some eyes in Japan when he faces Yushin Okami, a two-time Pride winner with an 8-1 record, in the main event of Super Brawl 36.
'This is the kind of opponent who is very respected in Japan,' promoter T.Jay Thompson said of Okami. 'I feel very fortunate to get him to come
here and give Vitale a chance to show what he can do. Of course, an impressive win by Vitale should open some doors for him.'
Vitale has a 17-3 record and has been one of the most consistent of a large group of successful Hawaiian fighters. His record includes nine victories in his last 10 fights, with the lone loss coming to Lindland.
In addition to Vitale-Okami main event, the Super Brawl/Extreme Challenge tournament returns... this time with some of the nation's top up-and-coming 155-pounders.
Competing in the event are:
- Bart Palaszewski of Chicago... a student of Jeff Curran, Palaszewski has a record of 8-3, but has won eight in a row.
- Roger Huerta of Minneapolis... a student of Dave Menne, Huerta has a 9-0-1 record and a solid college wrestling background.
- Justin James of Omaha, Neb... an explosive fighter who has a 6-4 record and the abilty to end fights quickly.
- Ryan Schultz of
Gresham, Or... a member of Team Quest with a 6-2 record that includes a recent win over UFC veteran Gil Castillo.
- Harris Sarmiento of Honolulu... member of 808 Fight Factory with a 10-7 record. Has won 7 of his last 8 bouts.
- Kolo Koka of Honolulu... a member of Grappling Unlimited with an 8-5 record. A solid 170-pounder who recently made the move to 155.
- Dain Agbayani of Honolulu... trained with 808 Fight Factory and sports a 4-4 record.
- Mike Aina of Hilo... a member of BJ Penn's MMA with a 1-0 record. A bit of a darkhorse in the tournament, but comes with Penn's recommedation.
Also on the card will be the comeback of 808 Fight Factory coach Kai Kamaka. He will face Tony Espitia who also trains on Hilo.
- Niko Vitale 17-3, Grappling Unlimited/808 Fight Factory Vs. Yushin Okami 8-1 Wajyutsu, Tokyo Japan
Vitale is coming off an impressive victory over former
UFC Champion Dave Menne. Although he still has his sights set on the UFC, a win over Okami could easily land him in one of the biggest events in Japan.
Okami is 2-0 in Pride events, including the last Bushido, and has a strong ground and pound style. Look for him to fight Niko's aggressive style with more aggression.
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